Pray Worship Serve FAQ’s

Dear Friends in Christ

I hope and pray that you will accept the 2015 Pray–Worship–Serve Challenge! More specifically, you are asked to commit to a goal of praying 20 minutes each day, worshipping one hour each week, and serving five hours each month. While at first it may seem like a simple suggestion, I am the first to acknowledge that this may not come easy. You may be thinking “what exactly do I have to do?” So I have included the FAQ’s below for your consideration:

Question: What do you mean when…….

We say pray 20 minutes each day? Answer: Commit to reserving 20 minutes (preferably at the same time) for devotional time. That’s right, make an appointment with yourself every day and make a commitment that will inevitably feed your soul. Defining how to pray is up to you. Pamphlets, titled “Ten Ways to Pray” are available to those of you who are at a loss or panic as to how to pray. The important thing is doing it! As one person put it, “it is not important as to how you are to pray but that you actually do it.” One of my bishops stated that he never met anyone whose relationship with God was damaged by praying daily. The reality is that most of us spend more time thinking and talking about prayer than doing it with intention. As in all disciplines, slowing down long enough and consistently doing the same thing is the first challenge, but is the only way that it becomes a natural part of life. Researchers claim that to successfully adopt a new habit or discipline requires a minimum of 21 days of consistent practice. So, it is important to give ourselves time, be patient and stay committed. This may also require us to explore different prayer methods in order to discover the kind of prayer that works best for us as individuals. The important thing is to stick with it and do it consistently until it becomes natural.

We say worship one hour each week? Answer : This may seem like a no brainer but we are talking about being in church, preferably on Sunday morning. Before we move on to the next question……let’s make sure that we understand what this does not mean. This does not mean that when we are out of town, whether for a weekend or for extended periods of time, that we don’t make a plan to attend worship wherever we are. The idea is to make a plan to worship and find a place to worship once per week in a church. Worship anywhere else besides a church building, say by television, computer or communing in the outdoors does not apply. If there is enough interest and commitment for a midweek worship service at St. Thomas, then we can make that happen; but doing so will require more than just showing up, such as by providing music or saying the prayers or reading the scriptures, serving at the altar or ushering or setting up the altar or taking it down; in other words having an additional worship service requires the commitment involvement of many people but it is “doable.”

We say serve five hours each month? Answer : Let us begin this conversation by remembering James’ chilling words (2:14-17): What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

OK, now that James has our attention. As controversial as this writing has been for Christians……… the best way to understand how Jesus cared for the sick, the poor and the needy is to do it ourselves. In many ways, service brings meaningfulness to our worship and focus in our prayer life. We are called by God to consider what we are doing for God’s people outside the walls of the church. This does not mean writing a check and leaving the work up to someone else and it does not mean working in and around the church for the church’s sake. It may seem that there is little need in our communities that is not already taken care of by someone else, whether it is by a social service agency or another church. As long as we make this assumption and do not explore the opportunities to serve God’s needy people, we will never find out the level of truth in our assumption. At this point in time, we are feeding close to 300 families per year who do not have the means of being self-sustaining. That list of families is continuing to grow. Feeding people seems to be something that some of us at St. Thomas do well. There are greater opportunities in that arena and there are other avenues of service as well. We just need to find them instead of waiting for them to arrive at our doorstep. One idea is to schedule one service event each month, something that would require four or five hours of our time.

Question: Who will I have to answer to? This is an easy one….God! Seriously, you will not have to answer to anyone else but God. On the other hand, for some of us it is helpful to hold ourselves accountable to someone else in order to stay on track. If any of you express a need or interest in this kind of thing, then we can coordinate a partner system or small groups for discussion and support.

Question: What resources are available to help me with my commitment? When you sign up, you will be provided with a starter kit and placed on an email distribution list that is intended to encourage you and provide resources as they come along. This will hopefully be a collaborative effort. We will receive information intended to keep us on track including an updated St. Thomas prayer list, service opportunities, etc. You can also speak with Father Reid to discuss your needs or interests and he will assist you every way possible. You will also have opportunity to share your reflections either through email or by placing your written reflections in the offering plate on Sunday mornings. We are also considering utilizing Facebook and our web page as a place for resources and information. We welcome your ideas.

Question: Can our children participate? Absolutely! This is a wonderful opportunity to involve our entire family in a conversation and awareness about the importance of prayer, worship and service.

When will Pray-Worship-Serve officially begin and end? The Challenge begins on January 1, 2015 and ends on December 31, 2015. Information and pledge cards will be issued at the worship services leading up to New Year’s Day and throughout the church year. You can place your pledge cards in the offering plate at any time during the year but please consider beginning 2015 with the opportunity for a renewed and life-giving relationship with God and each other as we continue our ministry at St. Thomas.

Hopefully, these questions have provided you with a better idea of what the 2015 Pray-Worship-Serve Challenge. We hope that you will consider accepting the Challenge and making the Pledge!

Take Care God Bless!

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